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Another excellent season of THE HANDMAID'S TALE

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I don't think you can find a more complex and relevant show this year than The Handmaid's Tale. It just has it all: chilling storyline with social implications that mirror our reality way too well, exquisite cast, powerful imagery.

Season two has come to an end and the final episode has left everyone craving for more, as one would expect from a TV show, nowadays. But people aren't just looking forward to seeing what's next for Elisabeth Moss’s Offred, they're looking forward to a glimmer of hope, especially with that final unexpected decision.

In the final episode of the second season, Offred manages to escape with her newborn, but decides to stay behind, leaving the child with her partner in crime, Alexis Bledel's Emily. After a full season of trying to escape the claws of totalitarianism, June decides to stay, perhaps in order to fight for her first born.

“There’s so much about this sequence that is inexplicable to the point of incoherence,” she points out. “(To start: Is there really just one road leading out of Gilead to Canada, and if there’s just one, wouldn’t it be, I don’t know, guarded?)” Saraiya continues: “But the main problem is a deeper question concerning June’s character. ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ has spent two seasons acquainting us with June, through Moss’s harrowing performance, but there is very little in that journey to prepare us for what she chooses to do in the final moments of the season.” (Vanity Fair)

Seeds

While showrunner Bruce Miller has leapt to the defence of the final scene which saw fans screaming at their TV screens, an executive producer on the Hulu series has debunked one of the episode's other huge moments.

"One scene in the episode, titled 'The Word', sees Emily (Alexis Biedel) attack Aunt Lydia (Ann Dowd) by stabbing her in the back with a kitchen knife before throwing her over a bannister and kicking her down the stairs. The last we see of Lydia, she's lying in a pool of blood at the foot of the stairs as the house's Martha rushes to her aide.

It seems it would take a lot more to kill off Aunt Lydia - both Miller and Warren Littlefield confirmed that the character will live to see another season.

Speaking to EW Radio, Littlefield revealed: “The first thing we said [to Ann] is, ‘You’re not dead, but it’s going to be a pretty brutal scene.' She was completely up for it.”

Miller himself revealed the character's fate in a conference call to journalists.

"Aunt Lydia doesn’t die. I don’t think Aunt Lydia can die. I don’t think there are forces in the world strong enough to kill Aunt Lydia. And by extension, the incredibly strong, fabulous Ann Dowd I think is with us for a long, long time, as well." (The Independent)

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"Nothing June had done up till that point had suggested she might turn down a chance to leave. She had, in fact, made multiple attempts to escape of her own volition, even after she was reunited with Hannah. In the episodes leading up to the finale, June had learned that her husband and her best friend were alive and living in Canada, that the letters Nick was able to smuggle out had damaged Gilead’s diplomatic relations with other countries, and that the one woman she considered a co-conspirator, Serena (Yvonne Strahovski), was willing only to hold June down during a vicious sexual assault. There was no plausible reason for June to stay. Not even Elisabeth Moss could sell June’s dizzying about-face, or justify the show’s insistence that her actions were badass, not baffling. (Cue: a slow raise of her red hood, a grimace directly to camera, and a Talking Heads song as the credits rolled.)

How does The Handmaid’s Tale think June will burn down the metaphorical house of Gilead, exactly? (Putting her hood up can’t miraculously turn her blood-red handmaid outfit into an invisibility cloak, and the chain of Marthas who risked their lives to escort her to the meeting point might be less than friendly, given that she’s spurned their selfless efforts.) The whole point of The Handmaid’s Tale is that June has no power of her own. In Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel, June has accepted this and internalized it, which is what ironically makes her story all the more crucial. Through recounting what happened to her, and documenting the tiny details of her confined existence, June is able to retain a modicum of authority—more so in the novel’s flash-forward, when it’s revealed that June’s story has outlasted Gilead itself." (The Atlantic)

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